2 killed, 5 injured in Oakland overnight shootings

April 25, 2011 6:38:45 PM PDT
There was a chaotic scene in a popular Oakland bar where a gunman opened fire Monday morning, seemingly shooting indiscriminately at customers and employees.

It happened at Sweet Jimmie's near Jack London Square, an area known as one of Oakland's safer neighborhoods. However, Merchants say the number of late-night shootings they are seeing is bad for business.

It was just before 1 a.m. when police say the shooter stood outside Sweet Jimmie's and fired indiscriminately at the patrons and workers inside. Hours later, the doors to the restaurant/bar remained closed for business. The yellow chalk where police marked the spray of bullet casings was the only visible sign that Jack London Square is not immune to Oakland's violence.

"This car was parked in front. One suspect got out, approached the door. The shots were fired and six people were hit," said OPD spokesperson Cynthia Perkins.

Police are reportedly looking into whether the shooter pulled out an assault rifle and fired into Sweet Jimmie's because he was denied entry. Two men were killed instantly. Four people were injured, two of them critically.

As police investigated the Sweet Jimmie's murders, just a few blocks away, another man was shot in the leg outside Kimball's nightclub. Police say the shootings are unrelated. Jack London Square merchants like Jerry Rossi, whose family has owned the Fat Lady Restaurant and Bar for more than four decades, say nightclub owners need to do more.

"It would help down here if we had uniformed police officers down here around the clubs late at night and making the clubs pay for them," Rossi told ABC7.

In September, four men were shot outside a Jack London Square Chicken and Waffles restaurant and in 2006, a pregnant woman was killed outside a club. It later closed after complaints about violence.

"This is not a violent neighborhood. This is the safest place to be in Oakland," said Ben Delaney with the Jack London District Association. "We're trying to work with business owners, including the owners of Sweet Jimmies, to try and figure out the cause of the violence and stomp it down."

Oakland's mayor says police will step up patrols in the area. She says solving the shooting is a top priority and that is good news for business owners.

"We're only two blocks away, or three blocks away from the police station. You'd think we should be able to protect this area a little better than what we do," Rossi said.

Police have only a vague description of the suspects. They say four African American males in their late teens or early 20's drove away in a white Dodge Avenger. Police say Monday's early morning homicides bring the total number of murders in Oakland this year to 34.

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